Saturday, 13 October 2018

British Army forms Cultural Property Protection Unit

Soldiers at Ur in Iraq invasion
A former Gulf War tank commander is recruiting experts to form a specialist unit that will protect cultural heritage in war zones. The formation of the unit is a response to Britain’s decision, last year, to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention on protecting cultural property during military conflict. (Nick Squires, 'British Army starts recruiting for revived Monuments Men unit to protect art and archaeology in war' Telegraph, 11th Oct 2018).  The Cultural Property Protection Unit will be commanded by Lt Colonel Tim Purbrick, who is now attempting to assemble a group of specialists,  and will start interviewing potential recruits next week.
The new unit will draw on members of the Army, Navy, RAF and Royal Marines. Civilians who want to join will have to enlist in the Army Reserves. Once up and running, the 15-strong unit will be sent into war zones where art and archeological sites are at risk from fighting. [...]   The CPPU will be tasked with protecting art and archeology, investigating looting, bringing smuggling gangs to justice and informing allied forces about the location of cultural heritage sites.  “The idea will be to identify sites so that we don’t drop bombs on them or park tanks on top of them,” said Lt Col Purbrick, who left the regular army after 10 years to become a reservist.

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